Have you seen photos of the viral 20-foot spiral in Washington, DC? This is what it means

Commuters in Washington, DC, were surprised this week when a 20-foot-tall inflatable spiral appeared outside Union Station. It quickly went viral, with countless tweets featuring photos and jokes about it spreading across social media.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to annul Roe v. Wade In 2022, concerns about the safety of other reproductive rights, including access to contraception, have increased. 2022 also saw the introduction of the Right to Contraception Act.

So why was the giant IUD in Washington? It was deployed (ahem) by Americans for Contraception to raise awareness and support passage of the Right to Contraception Act ahead of its vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Right to Contraception Act would give every American the federally protected right to obtain contraception in any form they want, whether in the form of pills, patches, implants, condoms, IUDs or medical procedures such as vasectomies. This issue has been in the spotlight since the Roe case, when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion that the court should also reconsider some of its previous rulings, including those that prohibited bans on contraception and same-sex marriage.

This issue is all the more important because Donald Trump, who will be the Republican presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, stated that he is “looking into” restrictions on birth control and finds the plans on this issue “interesting.”

Republicans blocked the birth control bill in Wednesday's vote. The bill received a 51-39 majority, but that was not enough to get the 60 votes needed to move forward. Only two Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – voted with Democrats for the bill.

“Contraception is health care, essential health care that millions of people rely on,” said Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, adding that “more chaos is ahead” in the wake of the Roe decision.

President Joe Biden called Republican opposition to reproductive rights and the right to birth control “unacceptable.”

“We will continue to urge Congress to restore Roe v. Wade protections into federal law and secure the right to contraception once and for all,” he said.